“Hello,” the doctor said, referring to me playfully as the “lady with the interesting pelvis. I got up from the chair and greeted him back. “Hi Doc, how is the new year treating you?”

In 2019, I achieved one of my biggest goals. On two prosthetic hips, I walked the Camino de Santiago, and after a few fits and starts, I walked into Santiago de Compostela’s ancient city. Maybe “walked” is not quite correct. I have a penguin-like gait, so maybe wobble is more accurate.

Today, the 17th February 2021, I was sitting in my orthopaedic’s consulting room to get a check-up on my two prosthetics and some guidance on a strange and excruciating new pain that I had developed in my right leg.

I had just had my first MRI. Seriously, I would never wish that experience on anyone! I know all of you who have no issues with claustrophobia are probably snickering right now. Still, when I was slowly shifted down that tiny tube, it was then that I could imagine what my late brother had felt like when he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer. I only had to do this once. He went every week, for a similar experience of being laid out in a small space with his head covered in a mask, which reminded me of the one Hannibal Lecter wore. I lay feeling overwhelmed in what felt like a very tiny space and put my mind to thinking of better things.

I was back on Camino. Smelling the fresh crispness of the Spanish countryside. Listening to the beautiful noise of nature. Hearing the stones crushing under my boots. It reminded me of why I have been doing what I have been doing these past months. Setting up my own online business, because being on pilgrimage is now all I want to do.

With this new pain that had crept up, would my dreams be dashed?

Before my two hip replacements, I had two triple osteotomies on each hip in my early twenties. It seems that when I was born, and as I grew, my pelvis hadn’t shifted into a place to give my hips and legs enough support. In my early teens, I developed excruciating leg aches, which led to these two intricate operations needing to be done. There is a more medical explanation for it, but this is the gist of it.

When I came around to have hip replacements, the modified pelvis on the right side was tricky for the skilled surgeon to install the prosthetic, so my right side and leg are slightly prejudiced. If you can imagine a pirate, and how he might have hobbled along on the makeshift peg-leg — that’s me.

The funny thing is that I have absolutely no pain in my hips whatsoever! All four operations that I had changed my life for the better. Nature didn’t stop there with me, though, because I also have degenerative bones in my spine’s base. It is now this that is creating this weird numbness and intense pain in my right calf and foot. Anyway, I now have to see a neurosurgeon.

I am sharing this story because today, I feel more powerful than ever! Aside from the pain that I have, my purpose and my goal is pushing me forward. I am entering a new phase in my online journey, and I have never been more determined to move forward to a place of success. So, to hell with my bones and my history of operations on them, I will not be deterred.

My purpose has been clear to me from the day I sat on that patio while I was on a pilgrimage. It was a day of epiphanies and understanding. Understanding that I had my own values that I needed to start aligning my life with. It was the perfect time to make the changes that I needed to make.

I have an ambitious goal to walk another 25 Camino’s. I am putting this out there because last night I questioned whether this would be possible. I quickly checked my negative thought and reminded myself that:

We are, and have everything that we need; our unchecked thoughts only limit us.

I am reminded of the depth and tenacity of the human spirit of adventurers, trailblazers and explorers, like Renan Ozturk and Mark Inglis. Renan suffered a massive and debilitating accident which could have ended his life. Still, in a short time afterwards, he had rehabilitated himself to summit the technical and challenging climb of Meru. Likewise, Mark Inglis had previously lost both of his legs to frostbite, and against all odds successfully summited Mount Everest. There are many others who despite physical challenges, break barriers towards their own greatness.

Undoubtedly it is a purpose that pushes us forward. Those goals that are clearly set and now burn a hole into your heart, so much so that when you think of going back, it scares you to the core. It’s that what gets you up in the morning; it’s what sets your soul on fire, and gives you courage when you didn’t know that you could even be so brave.

Find your purpose. Embrace it, and don’t be afraid to go after it!